Pain And Suffering: How Your Compensation Is Determined

18 May 2016
 Categories: Law, Blog


Being the victim of another's negligence can impact your life in many ways, from serious physical injuries and being unable to work at your job to loss of personal property. While the at-fault driver's insurance company may be able to take care of your medical expenses and get you back into a vehicle to drive after some time, you may have suffered a major area of damage that is unlikely to be addressed in this manner without attention. Many people fail to take into account the mental and emotional effect that a serious auto accident has on you and your family's life. To learn more about getting compensated for pain and suffering, read on.

What is Meant by Pain and Suffering?

You may wonder how anyone can put a price on the emotional fallout of an accident, but the insurance companies have actually done just that. Pain and suffering is any and all emotional results of your accident, and the burden to prove this impact is on you and your personal injury attorney. Don't allow this facet of your person injury claim to be minimized; mental problems are serious and can continue to affect you months and even years after your accident. Some emotional issues to watch out for include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Moodiness
  • Eating more or eating less than is usual for you.
  • Depression
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sudden outbursts of anger
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which may include not only all of these symptoms but the added distress of reliving the traumatic impact accident while asleep or awake.

How is Pain and Suffering Proven?

As mentioned above, you must provide proof of your pain and suffering. Take steps as soon as possible to do the following:

1. Keep a journal. Nothing fancy is required here; just a spiral notebook or an word processing program will do. It's important to begin as soon after the accident to record your thoughts as possible. For your first entry, you may need to think back to the events immediately after the accident. Date your entries and focus not only on what is happening, but how you felt about it. For example, you might note that you are not able to attend your child's sporting event due to pain and mobility issues and how heartbroken it makes both you and your child to miss this event.

2. Seek help from mental health professionals, such as mental health therapists, psychologists and licensed clinical social workers. Keep all appointments and retain copies of any related paperwork. Take any medications prescribed and be sure to note any side effects of that medication.

How is Pain and Suffering Calculated?

The insurance company can use a variety of calculation methods for this determination, but most take into account the following factors:

  • The seriousness of your physical and emotional injuries and the dollar amount spent so far on these issues.
  • Whether or not you had no fault in the accident, or if you shared some percentage of fault with the other driver (which could reduce the amount of money damages you are eligible to receive).
  • Whether or not your injuries are permanent and the possibility of you never being able to return to work.
  • A comparison of your case with others in your local area that are similar, and the dollar amount awarded in those cases.

It's vital for you understand that the initial offer from the insurance company is just that, an offer. Your personal injury attorney will negotiate on your behalf to ensure that you are compensated for your injures in a fair and complete manner.

For more information and legal advice, talk with a professional attorney, such as Jack W Hanemann, P.S..